NVTC Co-Hosts Military Spouse Employment Summit with Sen. Tim Kaine, Blue Star Families and CTA
On October 23, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.), convened military spouses, military stakeholders and business leaders from across the Greater Washington region for the inaugural Virginia Summit on Military Spouse Employment, an engaging roundtable discussion on improving employment opportunities for military spouses. The event, co-hosted by NVTC, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and Blue Star Families, took place at CTA's office in Arlington.
NVTC President and CEO Bobbie Kilberg participated in the summit, along with NVTC Veterans Employment Initiative (VEI) Director Steve Jordon, and senior human resources leaders from NVTC member companies Booz Allen Hamilton, CACI, IntelliDyne, MAXIMUS, Northrop Grumman, Sprint and Vencore. The roundtable was moderated by Sen. Kaine, who is Co-Chair of the Senate Military Family Caucus and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
CTA Vice President of U.S. Jobs Jennifer Taylor welcomed participants to the summit and Blue Star Families CEO Kathy Roth-Douquet opened the discussion by highlighting national statistics surrounding military spouse employment. According to Roth-Douquet, active duty military spouses face an unemployment rate of over 28 percent, and in Virginia alone, there are over 25,000 unemployed, highly-skilled military spouses. Bobbie Kilberg and VEI Director Steve Jordon closed the session by sharing the importance of this initiative to NVTC member companies because of the tremendously valuable skills and experience military spouses bring to the private sector.
Military spouses shared first-hand perspectives into the obstacles they face gaining – and retaining – meaningful employment. Some of these barriers to employment include explaining resume gaps due to frequent moves to potential employers, managing rising childcare costs while growing their careers and difficulties accessing employment resources available to military spouses.
Additional areas of improvement for military spouse employment that emerged from the discussion are the need for more efficient security clearance processing, the need for new regulations that enable certification portability across the states and improved marketing and administration of public and private sector programs that help military spouses get employed.
Department of Defense stakeholders and senior human resources leaders from the region's business and technology community shared successful strategies their organizations have implemented to engage military spouse talent and welcome military spouses into their workforces. Among those are specialized career coaching for military spouses, virtual and flexible work options, and engaging Veterans currently employed at their organizations in military spouse recruitment efforts.
The summit and its engaging discourse among military spouses, public, private, nonprofit and military stakeholders, is a strong indicator that the Greater Washington region is well-positioned to become a model region for the rest of the country for improving military spouses employment.